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Patients With Severe Asthma Have Triple the Costs of Patients With Mild Asthma

April 22, 2021

Per-person asthma costs are three times higher for US patients with severe asthma compared with mild asthma, according to a poster presented at the AMCP 2021 virtual meeting.

“Asthma continues to be a disease with significant burden in the United States, and economic impact is significantly associated with asthma severity,” researchers wrote.

The retrospective cross-sectional analysis used Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data for the years 2010 through 2017 to estimate direct medical costs and indirect costs from productivity loss for patients 12 years and older with and without asthma. Researchers categorized patients with asthma as having mild, moderate, or severe asthma based on their symptom control medications. The study estimated costs in 2017 US dollars.

Among 13,732 patients with asthma in the study, 77.1% had mild asthma, 22.2% had moderate asthma, and 0.7% had severe asthma.

Patients with asthma had an additional $4333 in medical costs and $157 in indirect costs per person per year compared with patients without asthma, according to the study. Overall, $75 billion in medical expenditures and $1.7 billion in productivity losses were attributable to asthma annually.

Annual per-person medical costs were significantly associated with asthma severity: $3305 for mild asthma, $7250 for moderate asthma, and $9175 for severe asthma, researchers found. Annual per-person indirect costs, which reflected missed school or work time, were also linked with asthma severity: $106 for mild asthma, $321 for moderate asthma, and $1000 for severe asthma.

“Asthma severity is the major driver of the clinical and economic burden of asthma,” researchers wrote. “Cost estimates attributable to asthma by severity will aid health care decisionmakers in prioritizing policies and interventions.”

—Jolynn Tumolo


Song HJ, Blake K, Wilson D, Winterstein A, Park H. Direct and indirect costs among patients with mild, moderate, and severe asthma in the United States. Poster presented at AMCP 2021 Virtual Meeting; April 12-16, 2021.

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